Texas generally isn’t thought to have a whole lot of culture but Beaumont is an outlier – in more ways than one. One of the only areas in the country to have the entire commercial district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, their influences come from a melting pot of settlers who hightailed it there in hopes of striking it rich.
You’ll see evidence of European opulence, period-specific design styles, and good old-fashioned Southern living.
Once Beaumont’s bustling entertainment district, Crockett Street is now a pedestrian-only byway downtown. Home to five historically significant and beautifully restored buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the district had lofty restoration plans that included riverfront developments, trolleys, and retail. Sadly, it never came to fruition, but still remains as an icon of Southeast Texas’s glory days. Despite whispers of hauntings, they regularly host festivals and events in an attempt to infuse some much-needed energy and life into the area.
The Jefferson Theater
Listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and a designated a Texas Historic Landmark, the Jefferson Theater is a prime example of Old Spanish architecture with touches of Renaissance Revival. Designed in the 1920s, it is one of the few theatres in the country containing an original Morton organ. They recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and still welcome audiences to see live theater, musical performances, and classic movies in a setting that harkens back to early Americana.
The Mildred Building
The Mildred Building was built to be a home and safe haven for oilman, Miles Frank Yount’s adopted daughter. Said to be the wealthiest girl in the United States when she inherited $12 million in Spindletop fortune at the ripe old age of fourteen, her stately palace was half a city block long. A Mediterranean Revival mansion constructed out of terracotta and brick, it boasts carved molding, draperies, and an elaborately landscaped garden that has since been turned into apartments and retail. If you look closely, you can still see the M emblazoned in the detail. Explore the local antiques, boutique, Ella + Scott, florist, and Down to Earth, which is full of literal and figurative gems, oils, crystals, and metaphysical healing tools before grabbing a bite at Katherine & Co.
The McFaddin-Ward House
A prime example of the wealth created by Beaumont’s oil boom, the McFaddin-Ward House is a historic Beaux-Arts Colonial Revival style home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a guided tour will take you through lavish the dining room, kitchen, maid’s quarters, children’s rooms, carriage house, game room, and parlor (the original man cave) as a way to offer insight into life of mid-century Texas socialites. The home has been featured on various TV shows including America's Castles as an idyllic Lone Star estate.
The Chambers House
In stark contrast to the McFaddin-Ward experience, the Chambers House showcases how it must’ve been to live like a stereotypical middle-class family in Beaumont. Owned by two quirky spinsters (known to forbid all non-Texans from entry), the notable hoarders ensured everything is akin to how it was in the early 1900s right down to the kitchen gadgets. A Texas cultural landmark, they also host haunted tours.